Problem Solving in Class

Yesterday, during the sixth session of an eight weeks’ Chinese Calligraphy course, I continued to learn from my students.

First I outlined the plan for the last three sessions:  1. Revision and Problem Solving; 2. Designing and preparing an Artwork and 3. Backing the work for framing.

The revision should be straight forward, I thought.  I went through the points of preparations and procedures and demonstrated each stroke.  It was unnerving to hear the ooh and aah from some of students as though they’d never seen it before and it was some sort of revelation.  Then I realised that three of the students had joined the class last week:  it was their second lesson; not sixth.  Sigh.

In the middle of my demonstration someone showed up and wanted to join the class:  she’d seen the works of my past students hanging in the council foyer and tracked me down.  I told her to come back next year; no, she can’t wait.  Please may she sit in on the last two sessions.  I said OK (why am I so weak?).  She’ll pay fees pro rata – all of $3 per lesson.

I am a volunteer tutor and I’m paid $5 per lesson to cover transport cost; I make $2.50 out of it now that I’m a Senior Citizen.  Until then the money did not cover my bus fare.  Now that I’m making money I must add value.

I sent the students back to their places and I went around to each of them for problem solving.  There were problems and some of them were mine.

I did not drill the fundamentals into the students because I figured that they are all adults;  so they still don’t load their brushes properly, they don’t smooth the hair on their brushes as they write (imagine writing with a twisted/knotted bundle of hair), they don’t trust the brush to perform its function: they merely touch the paper with the tip of their brush instead of releasing its power by pressing with conviction and make proper contact.  Mea culpa.

So next week I will repeat everything yet again before we move on.  Drill.





About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
This entry was posted in ., Chinese Calligraphy, Diary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Problem Solving in Class

  1. I do think you should charge more for what you do. Some people have an attitude that if it’s cheap it’s not worth much and therefore they don’t respect it as much. I am really enjoying discovering your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Tang says:

      I’m a volunteer so I should not be paid at all. :) True, our low fees attract a lot of people (not particularly in my course) who just want something for next to nothing then discard it because it’s only ‘cheap’ but if I have one student who benefit from it, it’s worthwhile :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the stories of your lessons, your patience and dedication is truly admirable. Although you could just be in it for the money I guess. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. taphian says:

    your good heart is nice, Mary. What would the world be without a good dead? I think you should get some more money for your wonderful work, kind regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They are fortunate to receive your individual attention

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jan Schaper says:

    Mary, is the image in this post calligraphy that you created?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Tang says:

      No, a fellow student gave it to me when I was studying Chinese Calligraphy. Daisy was never happy with her work so I asked her for a piece and had it glued to a board; the result was awful so I created that border and it made all the difference and Daisy started selling her work after that :) It now hangs in my study.


  6. Dalo 2013 says:

    Your attitude is awesome :-) And also I admire any teacher who also learns from their students as their students learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

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